What would you answer if someone asks you “what does gin taste like”? Although it has its unique flavour, there are so many different types of gin that it’s difficult to pin down one taste.
Gin is a beloved alcoholic beverage that’s made by distilling grains, usually barley or wheat, to create a neutral spirit. While the base spirit is almost always the same, gin can take on a variety of flavours and aromas depending on the type and how it’s made.
There are many different gin varieties out there, each with its own unique characteristics, so it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we explore some of the most popular types of gin and what makes them special before you go and buy gin online.
London Dry Gins
London Dry Gin is arguably the most widely known type of gin. It has a clean taste character dominated by juniper and citrus notes, with no added sweeteners or other flavourings.
This style of gin was originally developed in London in the early 19th century and became very popular during the height of the British Empire. It’s still one of the most popular gins to this day and is often used in classic cocktails such as martinis and gimlets.
Dry gin, on the other hand, is produced through the distillation process of juniper berries and other botanicals. It is created without any added sweeteners or flavourings, giving it a very distinct taste. Dry gin has become popular in recent years for its subtle complexity and a wide range of taste combinations that can be created from the few ingredients used in its production.
It’s mostly made up of juniper berries, citrus peels, coriander, angelica root, cardamom and cassia bark. All of these ingredients are distilled together to create the unique flavour profile and aroma profile of dry gin. The combination of these ingredients creates an herbal, spicy, earthy and yet slightly sweet note that makes it very palatable to most people.
Sloe gin is a type of liqueur made from sloe berries, which are small and dark-colored fruit related to the plum family. It has been produced in England since the 18th century and is popular for its sweet, slightly tart flavour.
This type of gin is traditionally made by steeping the berries in gin or vodka for several months, allowing the alcohol to extract the flavour from the berries. This mixture is then strained and sweetened with sugar or honey before being bottled. Sloe gin can range in colour from a light pinkish hue to a deep reddish-purple shade, depending on how long it has been steeped and what type of spirits have been used.
New Western Dry Gins
New Western Dry or Contemporary gin, is a modern twist on the classic London Dry style of gin. This new style of gin has developed over the last few decades and differs from traditional styles in that it often includes a wider variety of botanicals and flavours. Unlike London Dry, which only contains juniper berries and other select herbs, New Western gins can include exotic spices, fruits, vegetables and other botanicals for a more complex taste.
New Western dry gins are traditionally distilled using a combination of high-proof neutral grain spirits such as wheat or corn. The base spirit is usually steeped with the chosen botanicals before being filtered and redistilled to extract more of their essence. This process is what gives New Western dry gins their distinctive flavour profiles ranging from spicy to floral to fruity.
Next up – Reserve gin. It’s a special type of gin that has been aged longer than the traditional gin. It is also typically made with higher quality ingredients, resulting in a more distinctive flavour profile. It’s considered to be a rare alcohol variety. The aging process can range from weeks to years, depending on the producer, and it generally produces a much smoother and more refined spirit.
The result of this aging process differs from regular gin in that it offers far more depth of flavour. Rather than the strong juniper-forward taste found in standard gins, reserve gins tend to have an added layer of complexity. Notes of herbs, spices and other botanicals are often present, as are fruity or floral qualities from the added components used during distillation.
Reserve gins present a unique set of aromas and textures compared to regular gins. These can include light hints of citrus and flowers, as well as creamy nutty notes that can linger on the palate for some time.
Genever gin is a type of gin that hails from the Netherlands and Belgium. It has been around since the mid-1600s and is an important part of Dutch and Belgian culture. This unique spirit can be both sweet or dry, and its flavour profile varies depending on the variety. Genever has a distinct taste which is quite different from other gins, so it’s worth trying if you are looking for something new or want to explore a classic spirit with a rich history.
Genever is made by distilling malt wine and grains such as rye, wheat, corn, or barley. Juniper berries are then added to give it its distinctive notes. This creates a base liquid which is usually flavoured with herbs and spices like nutmeg or aniseed to create the final product. The production process used by distillers can vary greatly depending on where in Europe it comes from, resulting in differences in color, smell, and taste between bottles of genever gin.
Another well-known style is Plymouth Gin, which originated in England’s oldest port city back in 1793. It has a much softer flavour than London Dry gins due to the addition of liquorice root, making it slightly sweeter than other styles. The botanical mix also includes coriander seeds, almonds, angelica root, cinnamon bark and orris root, giving it an intensely aromatic character that makes it perfect for use in classic cocktails such as Negronis or French 75s.
Old Tom Gins
Possibly lesser known but just as delicious are Old Tom Gins – named after an early 18th century slang term for alcohol – which have a rounder taste thanks to an infusion of sugar syrup during production. This sweetness lends itself nicely to cocktails like Tom Collinses or Ramos Fizzes that require more sweetness from their ingredients than dryer drinks like martinis do.
Navy Strength Gins
Finally there are Navy Strength Gins (also known as ‘Gunpowder Gin’) which get their name from their high alcohol content – around 57% ABV compared to standard London Dry at 37%.
These gins have intense botanical aroma and taste due to their higher alcohol content, making them better suited for stronger drinks like Corpse Reviver #2s or Last Words cocktails rather than lighter ones like Mojitos/.
There are countless types of gin out there – from sloe gin infusions made with berries steeped in base spirit to Genever-style Dutch gins made from malt wine – so if you’re looking for something new and interesting, there are certainly plenty of options to check out. Explore our online catalogues for unique takes on this amazing spirit!
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